Friday, 28 March 2014

Measuring QA Key Skills and Competencies

I have been thinking about how I can help encourage self improvement within my team, as I understand it, everyone wants to improve, it's just that often there are a number of things that hold people back.

I believe one of these things that hold people back are around identifying skills that they are perhaps weak in or that they could/should improve on. So I thought about how I can help tackle that problem.

One solution that I want to try with people is to identify the key skills for a QA, what key skills should every QA have, or at least what key skills make up a good QA? If I can identify these then I can start helping people identify if they are lacking in an area. Sure there is a competency matrix that we have, but it has things like "An excellent understanding of XXX", it's often very difficult to quantify what an excellent understanding actually is.

So I sat down and came up with the following key skills:
  • OOP
  • Test Documentation
  • Manual Testing
  • Automated Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Operational Testing
  • Tool Usage
  • Cross Browser Testing
  • Automation Pyramid
  • SQL
  • Test Data
  • Communication Skills
  • Mobile
I'm sure there may be more, so please feel free to comment and suggest some to me. However, these will definitely do as a starting point and for the purpose of this exercise.

Secondly, I thought it's easy to go through and say I know a bit about SQL, I know a bit about Services/API Testing so I don't really need to learn them. So I thought about the following, sitting down with each QA member and discussing with them how strong they are, and trying to come up with a score out of 10 on how they would rate their knowledge, I would then put this into a radar graph to achieve an overall view of their skills as a QA.

As you can see I have tried to do it for myself, it's difficult coming up with scores, so it's by no means final as ideally I would discuss these with my manager and come to an agreement, but I think it is easy to see the areas that I need to improve on. I have also aligned these to the core competencies matrix that we have adopted, so it ties into helping people develop themselves with an eye for a promotion etc.

The next step is coming up with actions on how we can improve the above, but I will save that for a separate post!


  1. This is a great list! What about adding testing to meet accessibility standards? Our team here at Pixo ( strives to meet accessibility standards (especially for our higher ed clients) so we do in-depth testing for that as well. It's a bit of an undertaking but well worth the effort for those with disabilities to be able to use our websites.

    1. That's a good idea! Like I said this isn't a definitive list, so any suggestions are welcome. Where I work currently there is a drive to start performing accessibility testing, and in fact I got the team to do presentations on areas of testing and accessibility testing was one of them! Thanks!

  2. Life cycle is very well explained in tabular format... really helpful for the one's who are looking ahead to automate their manual testing process. Load Test Website